The Zambian Government has decided to concession the Tanzania Zambia Railways(TAZARA) to a Chinese Company called China Railways. Tazara is owned by the governments of Zambia and Tanzania. While Zambia will concession the Tazara infrastructure on its side, Tanzania has asked the same company to construct a new railway linein Tanzania instead of getting an already existing railway line.
The concession of the Tazara comes after Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania under a project called Mtwara Development Project resolved to come up with good rail infrastructure to steer economic development through Cross border trading. Here is the difference between Zambia and Tanzania over Tazara.
In Zambia, the contract was not advertised. China Railway which is being represented by a Dr. Mwanza was single sourced and will run Tazara for 20 years. China Railway in Zambia will take over the existing assets for Tazara.
When China Railway approached the Tanzanian government, they had a rude shock. In Tanzania the company was told it was welcome on condition that it constructs a new railway line and not taking over old stock. Meanwhile, despite Tanzania borrowing money from the Exim bank of China for this project that will see the construction of more than 1000km of railway line and acquisition of 19 Locomotives, Tanzania has awarded some contracts to non Chinese companies.
The tender for this contract was advertised by a Parastal called Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO). A number of companies were shortlisted. The first phase of this project that will see the construction of a new railway line from Tanzania’s Capital to Morogoro will see 205km of Rail being constructed at a cost of US1.2 billion.It will include 95 km of rail sliding and six new rail stations plus 5 new passenger trains.
This is the same amount Zambia will spend to do 300km of a two lane road from Lusaka to Ndola. Yes two lanes and not four because the other road is already there. Mr. Maganja Kadonga the Acting Chief Executive Officer of RAHCO said in an interview with Bloomberg that the first phase of the project will be undertaken by a Turkish company called Yapi Markezi and a Portuguese Company called Mota Engil and the project will take 30 months.
China Railway is the company that made former Permanent Secretary for State House Emmanuel Chilubanama fired. Before 2016 elections, President Edgar Lungu sent Chilubanama and his Senior Private Secretary Daniel Siwo to China to organise campaign materials. The same group of companies that owns China Railway arranged the materials. A bill of US35 million was raised. Lungu sent this money but Chilubanama only paid US15million. After elections, the owners of the company organised employees and went to demonstrate against non payment of the balance at Zambia’s embassy in China. That is how Chilubanama was fired. It is actually China Railways that the PF government wanted to give City Market after the PF burnt it.